High-Performance Composites

NOV 2014

High-Performance Composites is read by qualified composites industry professionals in the fields of continuous carbon fiber and other high-performance composites as well as the associated end-markets of aerospace, military, and automotive.

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N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 4 | 4 3 PLANT TOUR / FACC AG The stowbins are all made from fat honey- comb-cored panel stock and curved cored doors, with attachment points prepotted to accommodate hardware. For many of the units, oddly shaped composite duct modules — most made from lightweight glass fabric and phenolic resin — are also prefabricated and then attached during assembly (see Fig. 6, p. 42). After mecha- nisms and trim are added, fnished bins are strapped into specialized containers and shipped to Diehl for rigging of electri- cal and other systems. FACC continues to increase unitization of the parts it ships. One example is a composite "plug and play" module for the A350 XWB smoke detection panel, designed In cooperation with Siemens SAS (Buc Cedex, France), which reduces part mass and makes it easier and more economical to install than conventional panels. Although the materials and processes used in stowbins have been standard for decades, Stephan says FACC always looks for new options, but he admits, "crushed core is hard to beat because it is very robust … and it's easy to push out part after part with consistent quality and not a lot of quality control intervention. It is Fig. 7 In Plant 3, FACC builds a wide variety of flaps, fairings and flight-control surfaces. Fabrication efforts often involve this massive hot drape forming machine. comb supplied by Reichenbacher Hamuel (Dörfes-Esbach, Germany) with clamping systems by Inteccs (Dortmund, Germany). Filsegger explained that it is more eco- nomical for FACC to mill honeycomb in- house and, as we passed a vast landscape of machined core, he pointed out, "All of this is only for today's production." In Plant 3, a wide variety of faps, fairings and fight control surfaces are manufactured. Here also, effciencies from automated tape laying (ATL) and hot drape forming are exploited. The lat- ter applies heat and pressure to fat ATL preforms using a core and fexible form- ing pad to produce three-dimensional shapes (see Fig. 7, above). One example is ongoing A321 fap production, also cheap." When asked if thermoplastic composites hold promise, Stephan was cautious, "The problem is that in order to get the fre, smoke and toxicity [FST] per- formance, you are forced into materials that are 10 times the cost of current phe- nolic and honeycomb." Nor does he think thermoplastic composites could increase throughput. "We are already press-form- ing the phenolic parts with a cycle time as low as 30 minutes for large baggage bin doors," he says. "There is also a limit to the weight savings you can achieve on a sidewall, for example, because noise transmission is governed by mass." Plant 2 also incorporates a very large core machining area, with two new CNC milling machines used only for honey- Source: FACC

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